Delaware - Uber directors were accused of failing to properly
review the ride-sharing company’s $680m acquisition of a
self-driving technology firm that wound up being accused of stealing
trade secrets from a unit of
Uber’s board recklessly approved the purchase of a company owned by
former Google engineer
Anthony Levandowski, who has been accused of stealing seven years of
research material about self-driving cars from his former employer,
according to an investor’s lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court.
The suit, filed on Wednesday by Uber investor Lenza McElrath III, comes as a California judge
delayed until January 31 a trial over trade-secret theft claims brought against Uber by Alphabet unit Waymo.
McElrath accuses directors of ignoring “red flags” about the 2016
acquisition of Levandowski’s firm that amounted to “an improper and
potentially criminal raiding of Google’s assets,” according to the
Matt Kallman, an Uber spokesperson, said executives were reviewing the
suit and declined to comment on it. He noted that Elrath, a former Uber
engineer, has sued the company in the past about misleading employees
about compensation issues.
Waymo accuses Uber of hiring Levandowski to get access to technology
that would help develop a laser-scanner system, known as LiDAR. That
system uses laser-beam reflections to sense a vehicle’s surroundings so
the car can avoid pedestrians, obstacles and other vehicles.
technology is key for Waymo, Uber and other companies looking to move
into the autonomous-vehicle market.
The directors’ failure to oversee the purchase of Levandowski’s
company is another example of the company’s renegade approach to
business tied to founder Travis Kalanick, McElrath said in the suit.
Kalanick, ousted as the company’s CEO in June after a series of
allegations of misconduct, is having an
arbitrator decide whether he still controls some of the firm’s board
seats. Kalanick and other Uber directors are named as defendants in
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